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Major in Theater Arts

The major is comprised of a background in theory and practice of theater arts as well as a focus on drama, dance or design in upper-division classes. There are fifteen 5-unit and three 2-unit courses (81 units) required to complete the major. 


All Theater Arts Majors must complete the following requirements in addition to university requirements, including general education (GE) requirements:

Lower Division (41 units)

THEA 10 Introduction to Theater Design and Technology
THEA 20 Intro. to Acting or THEA 21, Acting Studio I: Psychological Realism
THEA 30 Introduction to Dance Theory and Technique
THEA 61A Ancient and Medieval Drama
THEA 61B Drama from the Renaissance to the Modern Age
THEA 61C The Birth of the Modern: Drama and Performance After the Renaissance  
One 5-unit Elective (any lower division THEA course not being used for another requirement*)
THEA 50 Fundamentals of Theater Production (2 units) [Must be taken three times]

Upper Division (40 units)

THEA 160 Dramatic Theories
Two history/theory/critical studies courses
Two studio courses
One 5-unit Elective (any upper-division THEA course not being used for another requirement*)
One Faculty-Directed Production
THEA 185 Senior Seminar


The DC general education requirement is satisfied by completing:
    • THEA 160 Dramatic Theories in Junior year (offered Spring onlyor 
      THEA 159 Advanced Playwriting (offered annually, check with the department)
    • THEA 185 Senior Seminar in Senior year (offered Fall only)

The major’s Faculty Directed Production requirement is fulfilled with a 5-unit THEA 151, THEA 151A, THEA 155, THEA 137, which are all admission-by-audition (audition information is posted here). Please check with the department adviser or check our current Course Offerings list to learn which of these are offered in a particular year. Theater Arts minors may use one of the above to fulfill an upper division studio requirement. Majors who take two of these may use the second toward an upper division studio requirement.

Please be aware that the following may NOT be used to satisfy requirements for the major:
Independent Studies (THEA 198 / 199), Random with a Purpose THEA 139, Chautauqua THEA 158, Student Prod. 45, Barnstorm 55A & B,  Group Proj. 190.

A PDF list of our current Course Offerings, which includes a key indicating which courses fulfill which upper division requirements, can be found here.

For courses descriptions, please see the Course Catalog.

A note about the THEA 50 requirements — it is strongly recommended that students take care of these ASAP, as beginning soon as they have decided to commit to the major. THEA 50 is not a standard course, nor is enrollment standard. Please speak with the department advisor for details.


STUDENTS WHO ENTER AS FROSH must pass three lower-division courses to declare the major:
       • 1 course chosen from THEA 61A, B, or C (history/theory/critical studies courses)
       • 2 courses chosen from THEA 10 (design), 20 or 21 (acting), or 30 (dance)

—Students are encouraged to complete the three qualification courses as early in their studies as possible in order to declare the major no later than the end of sophomore year, as required by the university.
—THEA 20 or THEA 21 may be used as one of the three courses taken for declaration eligibility (not both). THEA 20 is a non-audition course designed for students with little or no experience in acting. THEA 21 is geared toward students with some acting experience and is admission-by-audition (auditions are held on the first day of class). Please speak with the department adviser for more information. 

TRANSFER STUDENTS may declare the major with no prerequisites as early as their first quarter on campus, with the understanding that unfulfilled lower division requirements will be completed as soon as possible. Transfer students must declare a major by the end of their second quarter at UCSC.

It is strongly suggested that all students consult early with the department adviser to create an academic plan for a major or minor in the Theater Arts Department. Please use Slug Success to make an appointment. 

For further information about requirements, declaration, or the Theater Arts Department in general, please contact us at, or call (831) 429-2974. The department office is located in room J106, Theater Arts Center.

More about our degrees can be found in our UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK on our Advising page.

The department also offers a minor in Theater Arts and a minor in Dance.